TRENTON – Bipartisan legislation to create a pilot program enabling the pooling of resources county-wide to conduct property assessments has been signed into law.
“We need a better system that saves taxpayers money by streamlining and sharing services, while providing relief to towns facing losses from tax appeals,” said Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex), a sponsor of the legislation. ”Protecting taxpayers needs to be our priority, and we need to try new and different ways. This is an approach that offers potential savings and deserves an opportunity to succeed.”
The new law (S-1213/A-1591) will create a property assessment demonstration program that would be open for participation by up to four counties to demonstrate a more cost-effective and accurate property assessment program to save taxpayers money.
Under the law, each municipality in a chosen county will use the same property assessment software, and all future revaluations and reassessments will be performed on that system. The system will also be used for other assessment-based functions, such as the development of a compliance plan, maintenance of assessments and the calculation of added assessments.
Under the law, no more than four counties may participate in the program as demonstration counties; no more than two in the first two full tax years after the bill’s enactment, and not more than two more in the third and fourth full tax years after the bill’s enactment.
The sponsors noted that no state funds will be necessary for the implementation of this demonstration program. The county board of taxation in a demonstration county will absorb the cost through assessment appeal filing fees already collected by the board.
In fact, the county tax board, by resolution, must certify to the Director of the Division of Taxation and to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services that it has sufficient funds available to pay all of the costs associated with the demonstration program.
The law requires Director of the Division of Taxation and the Director of the Division of Local Government Services to provide to the Governor and to the Legislature, not later than July 1 following the fourth full tax year after the implementation of the demonstration program, a report detailing the successes of the program, any problems experienced under the program and any recommendations for statutory or administrative changes to the current system of real property assessment in the state.